HarperCollins to publish I-SPY spoof titles in time for Christmas

HarperCollins to publish I-SPY spoof titles in time for Christmas

HarperCollins is to release a new series of I-SPY books for adults this November, riding on the back of the spoof nostalgia trend which proved so popular with readers and booksellers last Christmas.

Natalie Jerome, publisher at HarperNonFiction, acquired world rights from Susan Smith at MBA.

The four pocket-sized books will be written by Guardian journalist and publisher at Galley Beggar Press, Sam Jordison.

"The series is a new take on the classic collection that were a hit for children from the 1950s to the present day", the publisher said. "The new titles will encourage you to consider more adult-related matters, such as the absolute state of Great Britain, and equally pivotal troubles, like what parents get up to at the school gates."

The four titles - At The School Gate: My Mum Is Better Than Your Mum, Pets: When Human Friendship Is Not Enough, The UK: While It Lasts and Signs and Instructions: You Must Obey - will be available from the 3rd November.


Jordison said: "These books were a joy to write. The idea of encouraging people to really look at things around Britain - especially in our current state of political and social upheaval - is just a great one to riff on. I also love the look and feel of the earlier I-SPY books (especially the ever so slightly sinister 1970s editions). It's been hugely enjoyable to pay tribute to their language and aesthetic - while also appreciating the inadvertent humour they can provide. Most of the time when I was writing the books I was giggling like a schoolboy. Which made a nice change from weeping about our political leaders."

Jordison is also the co-author of the Crap Towns series (Box Tree) alongside Dan Kieran.

Jerome said: "I couldn't be more excited about unleashing these new I-SPY for adult books on an unsuspecting public! Take a well-loved brand, add bestselling humour writer Sam Jordison, fabulous 70s retro design and imagery, a brilliant marketing and PR campaign and then create books that are not only ridiculously funny but interactive. Spot the hot dad at the school gate, find the dog wearing pom poms, what more can anyone want but these books in their stocking this Christmas?"

Figures from Nielsen BookScan have showed that the humour category was up 29% in value terms year-on-year to £34.1m, its biggest haul since 2010.

The boost was largely due to Penguin Random House's Ladybird Books for Grown-Ups series by Joel Morris and Jason Hazeley, which were a big hit last Christmas, shifting nearly a million copies in volume by the end of last year. The publisher is hoping to replicate that success with nine new titles in the series out in October.

Publisher Quercus was the next to seize on the trend, revealing in May it was also bringing out a new nostalgia spoof series, Enid Blyton for Grown-Ups, in time for Christmas written by Bruno Vincent, based on the The Famous Five character. Five Give Up the Booze; Five Go Gluten Free; Five Go On A Strategy Away Day; Five Go Parenting and Five on Brexit Island- will be released in hardback on 3rd November.

Meanwhile fellow HarperCollins imprint Mills & Boon announced earlier this month it is to launch a "fun and feminist" series of Modern Girl's Guide humour books which "celebrate the sisterhood from A to Z" in November.

Drawing on the brand’s heritage and experience of over 100 years’ publishing for women, the Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guides will contain "vital advice every woman needs to survive the modern world", on topics such as ‘drunk E-baying’, office fridge etiquette and "explaining your job to your parents," according to the publisher.